Sale: 514 / Evening Sale, Dec. 11. 2020 in Munich Lot 267

 
267
Christian Rohlfs
Kornpuppen im Kornfeld, 1907.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 50,000 / $ 61,000
Sold:
€ 106,250 / $ 129.625

(incl. 25% surcharge)
Lot description
Kornpuppen im Kornfeld. 1907.
Oil on canvas.
Not in Vogt (Cf. Vogt 408). Signed in lower right. 50.5 x 70.5 cm (19.8 x 27.7 in).

• Key work from the post-pointilist period.
• The influence of Vincent van Gogh is obvious.
• The style shows Rohlf's openness towards modern painting.
• The same year Rohlfs painted the work "Kornfeld", a version similar to our work and in possession of the Museum Folkwang Essen, was made.
• His works are in international collections like the Museum of Modern Art, New York, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
.

The work is registered at the Christian Rohlfs Archive at Osthaus Museum Hagen with the number CRA 166/18.

PROVENANCE: Private collection Northern Germany.
Private collection Berlin.

Essay
Vincent van Gogh influenced following generations of painters like no other artist: The artists were inspired by the colors of his pictures, the clearly visible brushwork and the varied motifs. Christian Rohlfs, who was born in Schleswig-Holstein, belonged to the group of artists that was strongly influenced by the Dutchman's oeuvre and whose art shows clear references. The present work "Kornpuppen im Kornfeld" (1907) is a prime example of this and a result of the encounter with van Gogh. In fact, Rohlfs got to know his works in 1903 in an exhibition at the Folkwang Museum. Almost identical with the paintings by van Gogh, the German painter uses a short, almost pointillist brushstroke that remains clearly recognizable and, for the most part, is mostly set parallel. Rohlfs applies the paint impasto, creating a relief-like impression. The colors are also a clear homage to Van Gogh: Intense green, blue and ocher tones dominate the palette and create an impression of a landscape in early summer. Despite the expressive painting style, which is defined by the colors, the visible brushstrokes and the application of paint, Rohlf's work appears balanced and reflects his joy in painting.
The work "Kornpuppen im Kornfeld" (Stooks in a Grainfield) occupies a special position in the artist's oeuvre, as a a clear change took place in Rohlf's art just a few years later, as of around the mid-1910s. The brushstroke as an important component of the picture disappeared completely and a newly gained flatness would characterize his painting from then on.
Not only do the formal elements in this work testify to Van Gogh's influence, the motif of the stooks can also be understood as a direct reference. Harvest, haystacks and sowers are recurring motifs in van Gogh's art, an example of which is the painting "Haystacks in Provence" (1888), which today is in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. Other painters also took up the subject; the French Claude Monet dedicated several works to the motif and Gabriele Münter showed the haystack in the work of the same name from 1909. In Christian Rohlfs' oil painting the stooks appear diagonally staggered and thus organize the pictorial space. It is noticeable that the formal qualities - such as paint and brush - and the content in Rohlfs' painting are on par and thus form an inseparable unit. For the viewer this results in a closed picture space and a harmonious overall impression. This became the ultimate concern of his art and Rohlfs would pursue this ambition over the following years. "Kornpuppen im Kornfeld" is a prime example thereof and essential in trying to understand the intention of his painting.
Christian Rohlfs is one of the great German painters of the 20th century. His oeuvre spans over seven decades and reflects his great enthusiasm for experimentation: the artist takes up different styles, motifs, techniques and media and thus creates an exciting and extremely varied oeuvre. "Every work, even the smallest sketch or study, every print of his woodcuts and linocuts, which he himself printed by hand, shows a fresh start, a variation, a modification of the previous one." (Quoted from: Florian Karsch, Christian Rohlfs, zum 140. Geburstag, Galerie Nierendorf, Berlin, 1990, p. 4) [SL]
267
Christian Rohlfs
Kornpuppen im Kornfeld, 1907.
Oil on canvas
Estimate:
€ 50,000 / $ 61,000
Sold:
€ 106,250 / $ 129.625

(incl. 25% surcharge)